Fat chance. They’d be out of business. But they get a bit more business by pretending.
Here’s the schtick:
In Carroll’s theory, even the branching multiverse must come to an end. The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, so cosmologists think its death will have a lot in common with its birth, with no recognisable matter and only a single quantum field. In that case, there will once again be no observers to bring quantum fluctuations to life.
The simplicity of the theory impresses Aaronson: “I think he’s fundamentally right about it. I’m basically sold.”
Proponents of eternal inflation are sticking to their story, however. “I’m quite sympathetic to Sean’s desire not to have Boltzmann brains,” says Lloyd. Nevertheless, he and Alan Guth at MIT – one of the founders of the theory of inflation – both think it possible that the ever-bubbling multiverse can exist even if all of Carroll’s mathematics are correct, and they are working on a paper to make that case.
There’s currently no way to resolve the debate, but David Wallace at the University of Oxford says Carroll’s theory may also have practical consequences, for example in helping us better understand the way matter behaves at the quantum level.
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